Learning the Tools of the Trade

25 May 2017

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O’Connor MP today joined local Federal Member Milton Dick MP at WesTec Trade Training Centre in Springfield to discuss Labor’s commitment to local skills and training.

Joined by Dean of College and Centre Manager Alfio Balsamo, Woodcrest State College Principal Pat Murphy and Labor Candidate for the seat of Jordan Charis Mullen, the visit included a firsthand look at the centre which opened in 2014.

This is first class facility providing real futures for local students said Mr Dick.

“The team at WesTec are doing a tremendous job of providing skilling and training for our young people who might otherwise be out of school”.

“I congratulate Alfio, Pat and all the staff at WesTec for their hard work and commitment to local students.

Apprenticeship numbers have fallen sharply in the Oxley electorate under the current Government down from 3,203 in December 2013 to 1,479 in March 2016.

“Our local businesses are doing their best to provide local Australian jobs, but we must see more action from the government to give them the support they need,” said Mr Dick.

“With youth unemployment sitting above 13% it’s unacceptable that the Government has cut $2.5 billion from skills and training resulting in 130,000 few apprenticeship places.

“It was great to hear about the strong partnerships WesTec has developed with local businesses such as Cummins, Penske and Komatsu to provide opportunities to students, but we must do more to support their work.

Apprenticeship numbers in Australia have been in free fall under the Abbott-Turnbull Government. When Labor left office in 2013 there were 415,000 apprentices in training. The latest figures show apprenticeship numbers have fallen to 282,900. Trade apprenticeships alone have fallen 10.5 percent in the last 12 months.

“We have a plan to boost apprenticeship numbers by ensuring that 10 percent of jobs on Commonwealth-funded projects to go to apprentices” said Mr Dick.

“Labor’s plan will see apprenticeship numbers rise and the quality of apprenticeships protected, recognising that skills are a key driver of productive performance and economic prosperity.